Friendship and jealousy come with sharing everything

Imagine being with your best friend at every moment of every day.

You share your birthday.

You even share your DNA.

This is how 36-year-old Michelle Smith describes being a twin. She says it’s like, “having a best friend from grade 1.”

Only 3.4 per cent of Alberta babies born in 2010 will grow up knowing this feeling. The rest of us are left wondering, “What is it like to have a twin?”

Michelle’s fraternal twin Shannon Flynn says, “You always have someone to enter a room with. You always have someone to try something new with. It’s as close as sisters can be.”

And brothers for that matter.Identical twins Kyle and Ryan Miller say it’s hard to know how much of their twin makes up their own identities, but agree that it would be a significant part.

Photo by Jenica Foster

Identical twin, Ryan Miller says growing up he always had a friend and there was always someone to play with. Up until five years ago Ryan and his twin Kyle didn’t even know who was older.

“And we didn’t care,” says 26-year-old twin Ryan with a laugh.

But when two people are closely linked, competition and jealousy are bound to occur. Shannon always excelled in sports, but compared to her twin she typically came second. She says growing up they were in competitive swim club and for 10 years Michelle consistently won the trophies.

“Being good at the same things would sometimes leave one of us behind,” Shannon says.

To remedy this jealousy, Shannon suggests parents place twins on separate teams to allow them to succeed on their own.

Twin Diaries, produced by Devon Jolie, Jenica Foster and Scott Kingsmith, takes a closer look at the lives of twins.

Calgary parents Anna-Marie and Dufferin Iles have tried to give their 7-year-old fraternal twins, Tori and Ceili, separate experiences, particularly after the girls struggled when they shared the same class in school.

“One made friends easily, and the other one had an expectation that the friends be shared just like their wardrobe and their toys,” says Anna-Marie. “But the friends weren’t on board with that so it resulted in a lot of tears at bedtime.”

The Iles saw this as an opportunity to give their girls a chance to be successful on their own. They had them placed in separate classes after that.

“Even if they were identical twins, they are their own people and I think they need to find their own way in life, ” says Anna-Marie.

djolie@cjournal.cajfoster@cjournal.caskingsmith@cjournal.ca